Going back

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Longing for home - A story about what might happen if you succumb to homesickness

Submitted: April 05, 2019

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Submitted: April 05, 2019



Going back

by Susanne


Lately, this feeling of restlessness has been sneaking up on her. Whenever she looks around the city she has called “home” for the past years, she now can’t help but compare it to the home she grew up in. There, she was a happier version of herself. Her reminiscence is anchored in one particular place - seemingly meaningless, one that she has never attached any particular memory to.

Just a bench on a bridge over the railroad.

Sitting there, taking a rest from her run. Apart from the occasional passerby, the wide open space completely occupied by her. The swelling sound of an approaching train, the rattle and whoosh, the stir in the air as it passes underneath, the sudden change of pitch. It goes as gradually as it comes, the reverberations still filling her ears. Her eyes follow the straight line of the railroad cutting through fields and forests until disappearing into the horizon, where the big city is.

Every time she closes her eyes, this scene composes itself. She feels like she cannot live happily, live even, without being there again. Her whole happiness tied together with this place. She needs to see it.

She needs to go back home.

So she goes. And she starts her run, full of anticipation, excitement, fear – will she be disappointed? Has it changed? That would be too much to bear. Sneaking thoughts of having spent all these past years in the wrong place have kept her awake for long enough, but if her special place, the only one where she can be happy, had gone forever? She will see them as a complete waste, regret her choices and become bitter over lost time. She runs even faster, towards it, and away from her doubts.

Finally, the bench.

She sits down, panting, on the pale brown wood. To her disappointment, the relief and fulfillment she expected to feel fail to overcome her. Looking around, nothing seems to have changed. She wonders why she had always liked resting at this exact spot. She guesses it was nothing like other people’s “special places”, no oasis of peace, no grand panoramas. What she always came here for was to look out towards the big city, bustling just out of her earshot. She came to see the trains come and go, every whoosh a progress towards a destination. When her own life sometimes seemed so limited, knowing that so much more lay out there gave her reassurance and hope. She used to dream to be on a journey herself, to cross her limits and move out into the bustle of the world. To be in motion and have a destination to reach.

And then it dawns on her: this place is not the cure to her restlessness, but the epitome of it.

What she really needs is not to go back home, but to go. She just needed to go back to be able to go forward.

© Copyright 2019 Susanne. All rights reserved.

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